CARICOM calls for focused global attention on impact of climate change on small vulnerable states – WTO Ministerial Meeting

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Plenary at the WTO Ministerial (photo via WTO)

This year, many small and vulnerable economies in the Caribbean, including some in CARICOM, notably Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, The Bahamas,  Haiti, British Virgin Islands (BVI), Anguilla, Turks and Caicos suffered massive devastation and absolute destruction of critical infrastructure from two unprecedented hurricanes, fueled by global warming and climate change.

Colleague Ministers, many of these countries are faced with the herculean task of reconstructing their entire economies. Recovery and redevelopment, including that of their productive capacity, will take several years.

For many of these countries, the timeframes associated with the UN Sustainable Development Goals no longer apply.

It is for these reasons that the time has now come for focused global attention to be paid to the impact of climate change on trade and the  vulnerability of  Small States, like those in CARICOM, whose attempts to insert themselves effectively into the global trading system frequently suffers from the devastating effects of natural disasters.

Accordingly, CARICOM calls on this Conference to support the Declarations of the Small Economies of the OECS and that of the   Ministers of the Small and Vulnerable Economies Group, for the full flexibility of the multilateral trading system be deployed regarding the reconstruction measures that may be undertaken by the affected Members so that these   be considered compatible with the WTO Agreements.

 

Extract from Statement on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) delivered by the Minister of Commerce, Industry, Investment, Enterprise development and Consumer Affairs of Saint Lucia, Hon. Bradley Felix at the Eleventh World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 11 December 2017.

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Barbados Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator Maxine McClean addressing the Conference

The Member States in attendance include:  Barbados, led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade; Dominica; Grenada; Haiti; Guyana; Jamaica, led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade; St. Kitts/Nevis; Saint Lucia,  led by the Minister of Commerce, Industry, Investment, Enterprise Development and Consumer Affairs; St. Vincent & the Grenadines led by the Minster of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade;  and Trinidad and Tobago.  CARICOM representatives are playing an active role in the Conference; the Minister of Jamaica is a Facilitator for the negotiations on Fisheries Subsidies Disciplines and is chairing those discussions; and the Minister of Barbados is the Co-ordinator of the ACP Group, thereby representing the Group in the negotiations.

In light of a questioning of the need for  special and differential treatment for developing countries ( by the USA, in particular,)  and a calling into question of a developmental approach in the WTO, CARICOM places great importance on a re-affirmation by the Conference of the multilateral trading system as embodied by the WTO Agreements, that fully provides special and differential treatment for developing countries, especially Small and Vulnerable Economies such as those in the region, in order to assist their insertion into the global trading system.

Read Minister Felix’ full remarks: (more…)

Christmas in the Caribbean: December Festival for Saint Lucia National Day and beyond

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The official end of a calendar year which signals the start of yet another, provides an opportunity for reflection, an outpouring of gratitude and a purposeful commitment for renewal. It seems only natural then that the month of December would be associated with celebration and feasting. 

The December festivals are a series of traditional and historical festivals which bring Saint Lucians together in the spirit of community through artistic creativity with the use of light – a symbol of rebirth.  Saint Lucia’s National Day, or Saint Lucy’s Day – the feast day of the patron saint of light – is celebrated on December 13. The December festivals with their collective theme of devotion and celebration are a precursor to this major feast. Today, the December festivals are an eclectic mix of Saint Lucian culture that merges into a spirit-filled contemporary celebration of the Christmas Season. The three major events of the December festivals are:

• The Lantern Festival – an inventive and competitive showcase of lantern-making where youth, adults, artists, families and schools test their creative skills. Around this time, in years gone by, families would hang lanterns out in their balconies in honour of the patron saint. The festival keeps this tradition alive through the display of hand-crafted lanterns.

Read more at: St. Lucia Star

Better fish catches touted among benefits of novel CARIFICO project

A 700-pound Blue Marlin caught around the FADs in Saint Lucia, one of the pilot countries

BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, Monday, 11 December 2017 (CRFM)—The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) and its partners at the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) recently held a wrap-up meeting in Saint Lucia at which the outcomes of the novel Caribbean Fisheries Co-Management Project (CARIFICO) were unveiled. The most important benefits underscored are better catches and improved incomes for fishers who began using Fish Aggregating Devices or FADs. These were designed, constructed, deployed and managed in a cooperative manner by the fishers themselves in collaboration with government officials and with support from the Japanese experts.

Fishers from the pilot countries attended the meeting in Saint Lucia and shared how the project has positively impacted them. Fisheries officials from the CARICOM countries, except for Bahamas and Belize, also attended. International partners from JICA, fisheries experts deployed in the region and officials from JICA headquarters in Japan, as well as representatives from the Embassy of Japan in Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organisation, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), and the University of Florida were also present.

CRFM Executive Director Milton Haughton said that he was impressed with the progress made in introducing co-management approaches in specific fisheries, as well as the level of investment of fishers in the process. Fishers have formed new fisherfolk organisations which are actively participating in the development and management of the target fisheries as a result of the CARIFICO project. Through the project, governments in the six pilot countries are sharing more authority and responsibility for fisheries development and management with stakeholders by improving relations and communications, and promoting increased participation by them in decision-making in fisheries.

Participants at the forum
Participants at the forum

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‘Our region needs to be a zone of peace’- Guyana PM tells CANSEC conference

Prime Minister of Guyana, the Hon. Moses Nagamootoo with some members of the CANSEC delegation during a photo op. (Photo via DPI)
Prime Minister of Guyana, the Hon. Moses Nagamootoo with some members of the CANSEC delegation during a photo op. (Photo via DPI)

Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo has signalled the need for Guyana and the rest of the region to be a zone of peace, free from the scourge of money laundering, piracy and other illicit activities.

Bahamas PM warns region at great risk of climate change

CDM 10 underway in The Bahamas (Photo via CDEMA)
CDM 10 underway in The Bahamas (Photo via CDEMA)

NASSAU, The Bahamas, Dec 5, CMC – The 10th Caribbean Conference on Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM) has begun here with Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis noting that small-island developing states in the region are at great risk of climate change.

The conference, which ends on Saturday, is being held under the theme ‘CDM: The Road to Resilience Check Point 2017 – Building Resilience through Partnerships’.

It is taking place as the region continues the rebuilding efforts following the end of the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane season that saw two category five storms – Irma and Maria – cause widespread destruction and death across the Lesser Antilles as well as the Bahamas.

Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Anguilla, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the British Virgin islands were among the islands hard4est hit after the hurricanes pounded the region with winds in excess of 200 miles per hour.

Via CMC (more…)